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Week of October 8, 2001
Vicala -- the name is short for "Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian" -- was meant to be a Pan-Asian restaurant. But ultimately its Vietnamese chef and owners opted to stick to their strength: an elegantly plated, creatively conceived style they deem "nouveau Vietnamese." This encompasses customized summer rolls, lobster-and-calamari seviche, lemongrass-seared beef carpaccio, and scallops satay, served in a hip Alphabet City setting and accompanied by an international array of wines, all available by the glass.
111 Avenue C
 Cuisine: Vietnamese

Zazen is the Zen Buddhist term for "sitting meditation," and in the evening hours, the undiscovered Zazen is quiet and underpopulated enough to make you feel like a practitioner. Undeservedly so: The kitchen, under Nobu veteran Chia Shirahata, turns out some of New York's most delicious and least contrived Asian fusion fare, like yuan-marinated Chilean sea bass in a painterly pool of mustard-miso sauce (pictured, right), and moist, thyme-scented teriyaki chicken with spinach spaetzle. There are small tasting plates of shrimp-stuffed shiitake mushrooms, miso-marinated black cod, and spicy grilled short ribs, plus a sushi bar and a comfy lounge suitable for an advanced level of meditation.
29 West 21st Street
 Cuisine: Pan-Asian

Fraunces Tavern
Fraunces Tavern survived a revolution, a FALN bombing, and decades of lukewarm reviews. This week, after a $2 million makeover, it reopens to its biggest challenge yet: an irrevocably altered lower Manhattan and a conspicuous lack of pedestrian traffic. But the outbreak of flag-waving patriotism just might bring more than tourists to try Kenneth Pulomena's all-American menu of Sherman sherried eggs, Yankee pot roast, prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, and New England seafood stew.
54 Pearl Street
 Cuisine: Classic American

Notable Closings
Though not a comprehensive listing, here are a few dining spots that have bid adieu...
1 Fifth Avenue
, at 8th Street
52 E. 41st Street, at The Dylan Hotel
Peacock Alley
301 Park Avenue, at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
350 Hudson Street
Q Bar
267 W. 4th Street
351 Second Avenue

Looking Ahead...

Late October

Fiamma, 206 Spring St., 212-653-0100
Set-up: Tri-level space in SoHo with exterior glass elevator and 130 seats
Cuisine: Italian
Chef: Michael White (formerly at the four-star Spiaggia in Chicago and chef di cucina at Ristorante San Domenico in Imola, Italy)
Owners: Stephen "BR Guest" Hanson (Blue Water Grill, Park Avalon, Ruby Foo's)

Marseilles, 630 Ninth Ave at 44th St., 212-333-2323
Set-up: Two-story, 4000 square-foot space designed in 1940's French-Moroccan style with zinc bar and ebonized mahogany accents.
Cuisine: French/Mediterranean
Chef: Alex Urena (Blue Hill)
Owners: Simon Oren (Sushi Samba, Le Express, Maritime)

The Minnow, 442 Ninth St., Park Slope, Brooklyn
Set-up: Cozy 60-seat space with exposed brick walls, hardwood floors and private garden.
Cuisine: Eclectic American/Seafood
Chef: Aaron Bashy (Slate, Alva)
Owners: Aaron Bashy and wife, Vicki (Former pastry chef at Boston's Four Seasons Hotel)

The Harrison, 355 Greenwich St., 212-274-9310
Set-up: Designer Mark Zeff creates a 100-seat dining room filled with wainscoting, handmade chandeliers, and a walnut bar. Nine French doors will open onto the street, with an additional 40 seats available for sidewalk dining.
Cuisine: Eclectic American
Chef: Joey Campanaro (protégé of Jonathan Waxman)
Owners: Jimmy Bradley and Danny Abrams (The Red Cat)


Suba, 109 Ludlow St., 212-982-5714
Set-up: Subterreanean, multi-level grotto with moat, underwater lamps, and floor-to-ceiling glass-paneled doors. Designed by Andre Kikoski.
Chef: Stephane Bucholzer (L'Actuel)
Owners: Yann De Rochefort and Phillip Morgan


Blue Fin,
Set-up: Situated in the highly-anticipated W Times Square Hotel, this 400-seater will have a floating staircase connecting its two levels and a killer view of the Great White Way.
Cuisine: Seafood
Chef: Paul Sale (Icon at W Court Hotel)
Owners: Stephen "BR Guest" Hanson (Isabella's, Atlantic Grill)

April, 2002

Blue Smoke, 116 East 27th St.
Set-up: Jazz joint with a built-in barbecue pit at former 27 Standard space.
Cuisine: Barbecue
Chef: Pitmaster Kenny Callaghan (Sous Chef, Union Square Cafe)
Owners: Danny Meyer (Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Cafe, Eleven Madison Park)


Hear about a restaurant opening? Post an announcement - even a rumor - in the Food Forum.


Openings Archive
Week of October 1
Bodum Café & Homestore, Blue Grotto, Notable closings
Week of September 24
Jo Jo
Week of September 17
Tarallucci e Vino, Salute!, Cicchetti Bar at Scopa
Week of September 10
Bid, Long Tan, Enoteca at Sapori d'Ischia

and more ...

Photos: Patrik Rytikangas.
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